SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (NEXSTAR) — A proposal to expand Illinois’ legal definition of infertility is gaining momentum in the statehouse.
Current state law defines infertility as “the inability to conceive after one year of unprotected sexual intercourse, the inability to conceive after one year of attempts to produce conception, the inability to conceive after an individual is diagnosed with a condition affecting fertility, or the inability to sustain a successful pregnancy.”
“Obviously, by that definition, we are leaving out a huge portion of people who want to be parents,” Rep. Margaret Croke (D-Chicago) said on Capitol Connection. “That includes single women, LGBTQ couples, and also women who have issues too.”
“What I’m trying to do with this mandate is make sure that it doesn’t discriminate against people who do want to become parents,” she said.
Croke’s proposal would also expedite the time a woman would have to wait before qualifying for infertility treatments if her doctor signed off on it. Her plan has 19 sponsors in the House and cleared a committee vote last month.
“Why are we making them try for a year when their physician knows that they aren’t going to be able to carry a pregnancy, either conceive or carry a pregnancy to term,” Croke asked.
“If the physician determines that medically, a woman cannot carry the pregnancy or conceive, then they don’t have to go through that year long period,” she said. “As well as women who are over 35, they will only have to try to conceive for six months under this new amendment. But women who can biologically conceive with their partner and are under 35 will still have to go through that 12-month waiting period of trying to conceive before they can access fertility treatment.”
The proposal would not require insurance providers to cover the cost of surrogate fees, but would require them to provide some form of coverage for in vitro fertilization and other infertility treatments. Croke says the coverage could help pay for expensive things like “sperm selection and your egg donor and ovulation stimulation.”
“This idea of taking [parenthood] away from someone because of who they love is pretty heart wrenching,” she said. “There are people who want to be parents, and I don’t think that we should be determining who becomes a parent because of financial barriers, or because they are in a same sex relationship, or they’re single.”